Zarif in Trouble After Explosive Recording Leaked
A bombshell leak of a recorded conversation between Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamad Zarif and a local journalist is threatening to throw a wrench in the ongoing Vienna nuclear talks between Iran and world powers. In the explosive conversation, held just over a year ago and published on Monday by the London-based Iran International website, the prominent diplomat can be heard slamming the revered and deceased Gen. Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds Force who was assassinated in January 2020 by the United States. Soleimani, who was one of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s closest allies and advisers, intentionally sabotaged the 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by Zarif and the West, and sought the aid of Russia to “destroy all that was achieved,” the foreign minister said. Zarif also condemned the beloved commander and the entire Revolutionary Guards, the powerful paramilitary organization reporting directly to Khamenei, for its involvement in the Syrian civil war and the accidental shooting down of the Ukrainian airplane in 2020. Zarif’s assertion that Iran’s diplomacy has repeatedly taken a back seat to its military ambitions could jeopardize the renewed negotiations in Vienna, experts warn.